Stop No Show Appointments & Send Reminders: Templates + Zaps

Learn how to reduce no-shows and send reminders with these free appointment reminder templates

No show appointments and last-minute cancellations are frustrating. Every customer, client, or patient who no shows puts a gap in your daily schedule. This wastes time, hurts revenue, and affects your bottom line.

This is true for everyone running a service-based business - from estheticians to doctors.

Why do customers, clients, and patients miss appointments? Miscommunication. We’ve found that 53% of people say they simply forget to attend or cancel their appointments.

While another 28% say they miss their appointments simply because they write down the wrong date or time.

The good news is that there are many solutions for reminding customers and clients of their appointments including:

  • Phone calls
  • Emails
  • Postcards
  • Text Messages

You’ll most likely need a combination of these methods. So we’ve put together some examples. You’ll find reminder sequences, templates, and Zapier zaps that you can use to stop no show appointments.

Keep reading for more.

Methods for Sending Reminders

Voice calls, email, business text messaging, and postcards all have their place in an appointment reminder sequence.

But here’s the secret to reducing no-shows. It’s all about timeliness and picking the right reminder method for you and your customers, clients or patients.

Appointment reminder cards

Appointment reminder cards can be effective, but they come with some drawbacks. It’s easy for them to get lost and mail isn’t always reliable.

There also is a way to track or measure their effectiveness. This is significant when you consider the cost of printing and producing these physical cards.

Email appointment reminders

Email reminders are nearly free and almost everyone has an email address. It’s the most widely adopted communication method on the planet.

But despite the advantages and ease, email often suffers from poor open and engagement rates. We’re talking as low as 20%.

Because email is free and everyone uses it, email inboxes overflow with promotions, personal emails, professional emails, and many other reminders. So the chances of your reminder getting read can be low.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t send email reminders. They’re simple to automate and they make it easy to reach a lot of people compared to making phone calls.

Voice call and voicemail reminders

Phone calls and voicemail are another tried and true method of reducing no show appointments. They work well for immediate engagement, but phone calls are time-consuming and don’t scale very well.

Businesses like American Housekeeping used to spend hours every day calling to remind customers of their house cleaning appointments. But that all changed once they started texting their customers.

This ultimately saved money and freed the staff up. Texting allowed American Housekeeping to move on to more important revenue-producing activities.

SMS text message reminders

Appointment reminder text messages are one of the most popular uses for business text messaging.

This is because business text messaging has some clear advantages over email and voice. Especially when it comes to appointment reminders and reducing no show rates.

Texting customers and clients fundamentally saves time. It comes in handy when you need to frequently send bulk personalized messages.

It's easy to automate texts and send them out days, weeks, or months before an appointment.

And even though the messages are automated, you can still personalize texts. It's easy to auto-insert customer and client information including first name, last name, and appointment time.

There are some things to consider when choosing a business text messaging service. But here’s a summary of why SMS reminders work for dealing with no show appointments:

  • Texting is more immediate - texts have up to a 98% open rate.
  • Texting allows for more convenient two-way conversations between staff and customers or clients.
  • Texting allows staff to spend less time on the phone and results in overall money savings.
  • You can schedule text messages in advance for appointments to reduce no-shows.
  • You can automate text messages to send based on keywords and other triggers for out-of-office and away messages.

How to Create a Reminder Sequence

Here are some example reminder sequences that leverage all of the above reminder methods.

Sequence for scheduling an appointment

Sequences for scheduling an appointment typically revolve around some sort of meeting scheduling or appointment software. Platforms like MessageDesk make it easy to link people to the scheduling platform. From there you can send automated appointment reminders and follow-up text messages.

  1. Customer, client, or patient calls or uses website chatbot or website contact form to schedule an appointment
  2. Webform with appointment information gets submitted
  3. Automatic text message gets sent with a link to schedule appointment in scheduling software
  4. Once an appointment is confirmed, text and email an appointment confirmation message

Sequence for appointment reminders

Once a contact schedules an appointment, you’ll want to create a sequence built around reminders using both email and text. The following sequence is for an appointment one week in advance.

  1. Right after scheduling the appointment: text and email an appointment confirmation message
  2. 5 days before appointment: text an appointment reminder
  3. Morning of the appointment: text an appointment reminder
  4. The hour leading up to the appointment: text the customer, client, or patient

Payment reminder sequence

We’ve got a whole article on how to remind someone to pay you or your business. But here’s a sample net 30 payment reminder sequence taken from our guide to small business invoicing.

  • Day 1: email and text customers a link to their invoice
  • Day 5: text invoice reminder
  • Day 10: text invoice reminder
  • Day 15: text invoice reminder
  • Day 20: email and text link to the invoice
  • Day 30: call customer

Reminder sequence for collecting client feedback

Conducting text message surveys and polls can help you provide better customer service. Here’s a sample poll reminder sequence running for 4-6 weeks.

  • Day 1: text and email a link to a Google form, poll, or survey
  • Day 5: text and email poll/survey reminder
  • Day 15: text and email poll/survey reminder
  • Day 30: text and email a link to the survey/poll
  • Day 40: text a review reminder

Reminder sequence for collecting Google reviews

Collecting Google reviews reassures helps you build an online reputation and earn business referrals. Once a customer, client, or patient pays you for service, consider creating a reminder sequence that asks for Google reviews.

  • Day 1: text and email a link to your Google My Business reviews page
  • Day 2: text and email a review reminder with link to your Google reviews
  • Day 5: text and email a review reminder with link to your Google reviews
  • Day 7: text and email a review reminder with link to your Google reviews
  • Day 9: text and email a review reminder with link to your Google reviews

Reminder Message Templates:

Check out our text message template library for a full list of text message templates.

General appointment reminder templates:

Reminders to schedule appointment:

No show appointment text message template:

Medical appointment reminder templates (HIPAA compliant):

Text messaging as a technology is fundamentally not HIPAA compliant. But this doesn’t mean you can’t use text messaging to send patients appointment confirmations and reminders.

Medical practices need to avoid including any personal health information (PHI) in text messages. This includes patient names, the reason for the appointment, health information, etc.

Including the practice name and doctor name is typically okay since that information isn’t related to patient information. Check out our guide to HIPAA-compliant texting for medical offices for more.

Hair appointments:

Local service business reminders

Lawn service:

Window Installation:

House cleaning:

How MessageDesk Works for Appointment Reminders

It’s a best practice to send appointment reminders from your existing business number as opposed to a suspicious-looking shortcode.

The good news is that you can use your existing business number with business texting platforms like MessageDesk. You can even keep your current voice provider too.

Business texting platforms like MessageDesk also allow you to:

Schedule text messages in advance

Most business text messaging services allow you to schedule text messages in advance. And more sophisticated platforms allow you to set recurring scheduled text messages.

With MessageDesk you can set pre-saved text messages to send at daily, weekly, or monthly intervals.

Obviously, scheduling makes sense for an appointment reminder. But just having the ability to schedule a text message can lead to new messaging opportunities like:

Personalize and pre-save text message templates

A texting platform also lets you customize your messages at scale. For instance, MessageDesk lets you dynamically insert client and pet information into your messages.

So “Hey {{ FirstName }}” would turn into “Hey Ben” automatically, without having to type a name.
Here’s an example text using personalization tags:

Simple gestures like these can increase your client satisfaction.

Message templates also make it easy to craft a pre-saved message that you can send over and over again. This makes messaging consistent across multiple staff members.

Automate your texts

MessageDesk’s automated text reminder system helps you send texts at the right time and at the right frequency.

And with texting, you get the confidence that the customer, client, or patient will receive and read your text message.

Better yet, platforms like MessageDesk make it easy to create reminder messages and send automatic texts triggered by keywords or events.

So if a client wants to reschedule, they can just respond to your message with a keyword like, “RESCHEDULE”. Then they’ll get a link or a message that allows them to reschedule.

You can even automate the initial reminder text itself based upon your calendar or scheduling platform with a platform like Zapier.

Appointment Scheduling Zapier Integrations

Here are just some of the integrations MessageDesk offers through Zapier.

Google Calendar:

Calendly:

Simplybook.me:

Housecall Pro:

Acuity Scheduling:

MeetFox:

What’s next?

A business text messaging app like MessageDesk has features like text message scheduling, automated invoicing over text, and the ability to have 1-on-1 conversations with clients.

MessageDesk lets you send automated appointment reminders so you never have a no-show again.

Feel free to start a 7-day free MessageDesk trial or schedule a demo with a messaging expert.